We will always remember Ellie for her love for others, her creativity, sensitivity, and delight in life! Ellie's light has spread far and wide... may it continue to shine in our hearts.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Ellie would have turned 11. It is so hard to imagine because she has been forever frozen at 9. All around us, Ellie's friends have turned into long-legged pre-teens. They have one foot in the make-believe world of children while the other presses forward into grown-up land. In many ways Ellie already experienced some of that kind of split personality. Just before she died, Ellie told me that she wanted to decorate her bedroom in horses. By the next day she had completely changed her mind and decided on black and white photos with candles on shelves. Simple and elegant. She was dreaming of boyfriends and weddings, but couldn't resist the pull of her Barbies and baby-dolls. So I suppose the image of Ellie at 11 isn't so difficult to conjur... but therein lies the rub. I miss the 11 year old Ellie that I never got to know. Tonight we went through hundreds of old photos of the kids at various stages. We laughed at the funny chipmunk-cheek pictures of Ellie at two, and marveled at what a loving big sister she was at four. There were a few photos that I just wanted to jump right into and live all over again. But mostly I wanted the pictures to keep going so that I could watch Ellie change from 9 to 10... and to 11.

So tomorrow I will wear the bracelet that Ellie made for me when we went together to a bead shop years ago. I will try not to cry on the way to work... at work... and on the way home from work. Maybe working will help somehow. I don't really know. I just know that right now I am so sad. Not because my firstborn is no longer a little girl who is growing up too fast... I'm sad because she never will grow up. I won't get to take her shopping for her first bra or teach her how to apply makeup. Or help her plan her wedding. I'm not sad for Ellie. She got to die so innocent and sweet. I'm just sad for me... for the things that I will miss.

But God is ever loving and tender with me. This weekend I was struck with the realization that I have four precious nieces and some of Ellie's friends who just might need their Auntie Sarah to shop for pretty clothes with them and admire their sparkly shoes. Yesterday as I sat and braided sweet Maddie's hair, I felt a peaceful kind of joy. There are little girls who love me. Who put their arms around me and soothe me with their... girliness.

And I have a son who reminds me that I am still a mom. He delights in the "gushiness" of my tummy as only a six year old can appreciate. He reminds me everyday in so many little ways that I am still needed.

Speaking of small boys... yesterday Ethan experienced a milestone. He lost his first tooth! Ellie would have been proud beyond words. Ethan pulled it out himself. Ellie would have cried for days at the very thought of pulling out her own tooth (in fact, I believe that she did cry for days over it). Ethan simply walked back to the hall and looked in the mirror. We heard him say "I got it. Didn't even hurt!" and out he walked, tooth in hand.




Friday, September 18, 2009


... on being a year older. Today I turn 37. I almost didn't post today, but I have this need to somehow mark the special days in life. And if I'm totally honest, I still feel like a little girl who just loves her birthday. I always have and I just don't seem to be growing out of it!

I was thinking back to how I felt when I turned 21. I was so happy because that was the day that John and I got engaged. We went and picked up my engagement ring just before my party and I was able to show it off to all of the family gathered. I think of how I have changed from that girl. At that time I don't think that I fully understood how flawed I really was, but at the same time I wasn't very confident. I have to admit that even 30 pounds heavier and 16 years worth of "character" added to my face, I am much more content with myself now. I think that the biggest difference is that then I was becoming who I was, but now I know who I am. I know that I am completely and hopelessly flawed, but completely and eternally loved. I don't live with the kind of fear that I used to. Then, I had a very real sense of God and His ability to help in times of need, but now I know God. On a physical level, now I know that outer beauty is so much more than fitting into a size 6 jeans. I think, and hope, that I have found the balance between accepting the things that I can't change (or can't change without astronomical effort) and making the most of what I have, and have learned how to project on the outside the me that lives on the inside. Everyone knows that women strive to be beautiful. We are known for picking ourselves apart and trying to look "perfect." But I don't think that's it. I think that what most women want, is to look in the mirror and say "this is the real me." Because the perfectly proportioned, thin, young women out there often don't feel as beautiful as, well... I do.

Now I've left myself very little time go get ready for work... Oh well. Today I'm going to step out of character a bit and wear comfortable shoes. It's my birthday and I intend to feel good and be happy! :-) I have too many hours on the clock this week so I actually get to go in late (after meeting John for breakfast) and get off early! I get to have lunch with a good friend. And I get to top off the day by going out to Mom and Gary's tonight for dinner with the family. What a happy, happy day!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Some shameless promoting...

I am so happy to announce the debut of my mom's second book! Copies are just now available, and I wanted to be the first to tell you all about it. Mom has a website set up, so click on: Nancy Mankins Hamm to go take a look. I am so excited for Mom. I read the book just before it went to print, and I was completely enthralled in the story. The book is entitled "The Outcasts" and Mom has given you a little sneak peek on her website. For those who are interested in purchasing a copy, that can also be done on the website, and she has copies of her first book "Hostage" on there as well!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Playing on the computer...

I'm at my friend Tricia's house and she showed me this website that determines which celebrities you look the most like. Tricia's daughter Megan had just said that Dakota Fanning reminded her of Ellie a little bit. Lo and behold, Dakota Fanning comes up as one of my look alikes. We selected the option to have me morph into Dakota. See below for the finished product! Pretty fun.

Celebrity Morph by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph - Free family tree maker - Roots

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

In other news...

John turned 40 today!! Some might say that it's a miracle that he has lived this long, as he has tried nearly every dangerous and adventurous thing he possibly could squeeze into 40 years. I have no doubt that the next few decades will hold more of the same... But that is one of the things that I love the most about John - he holds nothing back in his quest to experience life!

So, I just wanted to say Happy Birthday to my sweetie! I found this card for him that I just loved. The front has a winding road through mountains and trees and it says "I'd follow you to the ends of the earth and back". On the inside it says "It's like you put my heart in GPS mode." I don't guess there's any more I can add to that... it's exactly how I feel.